We’ve brought you multiple stories about snow globes as art, products and installations before. But this is a slightly different interpretation on both scale and meaning. The Past Is A Foreign Country is a life size sculpture created by artist Friedrich Kunath. An installation in the 2011-12 group show, The World Belongs to You, at Palazzo Grassi, the artist’s autobiographical story is depicted by a man whose head is encapsulated in a giant snow globe.
Friedrich Kunath The Past Is A Foreign Country
A Cartoonist Image of Isolation
An autobiographical version of the traditional souvenir, Kunath’s sculpture depicts thousands of stories all at once. Filled with layers of meaning, it represents isolation and the human need to search out Paradise – the dream of wishing yourself away.
It also represents Kunath’s move from Germany to Los Angeles in 2008 (the artist says his soul was freezing, literally).
The fact that the figure is clothed not in a sweater, but instead in a Hawaiian shirt (another souvenir) gives the illusion of a tropical island, a promise that will never fulfill itself.
In the video below, the artist discusses the sculpture and the layered meanings behind it:
About the artist:
Friedrich Kunath was born in Chemnitz, Germany in 1974 and now lives and works in Los Angeles. A multidisciplinary artist – painter, draftsman and sculptor – draws his dynamism and inspiration sources from the contemporary world. His multifaceted, incongruous and diverse works are all encompassing citations, collages, recycling and references.
Having received a classical art education, the artist produces unclassifiable artworks between hyperrealism and surreal humour.
Whether he borrows the contemporary codes or he is inspired by german romanticism – the feeling of his paintings is sometimes reminiscent of certain works by Caspar David Friedrich – the artist skillfully plays with boundaries, eras, as well as great movements in the history of art. He is also immersed in the pop culture to which he is confronted to by living and working in Los Angeles.
“Inextricably entwining the experience of the ordinary with the sublime, Friedrich Kunath’s work explores interior sensation, recontextualization and abstraction, and oppositional relationships that propel emotional experience. Within his painting, installation, and sculpture, images and objects build upon themselves in a layered stream of consciousness driven by the autobiographical, the conceptual, and the emotional. The act is an embrace of existence – both vibrant and mundane – where irony and melancholy coalesce with his version of “ sad optimism,” and nostalgia wanders between past and future. Together, disparate yet individually familiar elements propose a kaleidoscopic view of somewhere between dreamscape and reality.”- via Andrea Rosen Gallery
Follow the artist on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/FriedrichKunath/
Find more of his work at the following links: